Hello my pretty little weirdos,
So, if you do not follow me on the insta or the book of Face then you won’t know what I have been doing. I have been posting a page at a time of my story Searching For The Tree of Life.
I will post here what I have posted so far. If you like it, you can go check out the rest on the social media or just cut to the chase and go download it (for FREE) from Smashwords.
I stand atop my ship’s crow’s nest, holding on to the mast with one hand and leaning out, looking over the vast expanse of my ocean. The midnight blue water stretches out to caress the pink sky of my home. Raven stands next to me, his hair ruffling in the breeze. The tattoos that cover his body swirl and scintillate with a life of their own, like clouds shifting across the sky.
‘I have a good feeling about this one, M’lady,’ he says, looking at me with his stormy eyes. The way he says “M’lady” feels like the warmth of sunshine on cool skin. The way he looks at me when he says the word is as if I am his entire world. But I pull myself away from these thoughts. We have a job to do.
We look towards a dark spot of land on the horizon. I smile. I have good feelings about this one as well, although I had good feelings about the last seven or so islands. All of them turned out to be dead and empty. ‘Aye,’ I say to Raven as I inhale the salty air. ‘Give us some wind in the old sails, Sir.’
He leans over to kiss me and I see the blue lightning flicker in his gray eyes. He smiles just before our lips touch and a spark of electricity crosses between our flesh.
‘Aye, aye, Cap’n,’ says Raven as he transforms. His dark cloak made of feathers converts into wings. Quickly and painlessly, he is a bird again and he shoots off into the sky. Clouds gather above him and a hearty gust of wind billows through the sails of the Silent Lady.
‘All hands on deck,’ I yell to my ghost crew and the ship comes to life.
I let go of the rail and leap off the crow’s nest, plunging down towards the deck, feeling the wind against my face. The deck of the Silent Lady comes up to meet me fast and I splash onto it, gliding along the surface effortlessly, creating my own buffer of water to dive into. I land, sliding, hopping up onto my feet at a run, leaving a glistening trail of water in my wake.
I take hold of the ship’s wheel and steer her true towards our heading. The next island in a line of failures. In our search for anyone. Any creatures left alive after our absence.
My memories of why I was banished still elude me. Maybe the Lady of the Land, Terrcia, was telling the truth, maybe it was just “because.” But it matters not. All that matters is the now. All that matters is that I do my best. It is my duty to bring life where there is seemingly none. How I am going to do that, I am not yet sure.
We race towards the island, bouncing across the wild waves, Raven’s wind at our backs. The rain is heavy and the sky is now dark with the instant storm. The sea squall splashes white foam over the sides of the ship and I laugh, coral hair sticking to my face with the rain. Yes, I could control said waves, but what would be the fun in that?
The Silently Lady rides across the whitecaps, like a herd of mighty hippocamps with Poseidon as their commander. As we get close enough to the shore, I can see the blackened rocks of the island jutting out of the water like the teeth of a voracious sea monster, luring us in. ‘Come, Men. Tonight we sleep on land,’ I say as I run to the bow of the ship, take one step up onto the railing and then dive into the shadowy waters below, abandoning the Silent Lady in deeper waters.
I hit the frigid water with barely a splash. Gliding through its cool embrace, I swim under the sea towards the island, navigating my way through the rocks until I feel sand beneath me. I stand and walk a shore. Raven floats down out of the, now, clear sky and, with a gust of wind, lands on my shoulder. ‘Ready, M’lady?’ he asks.
‘Always,’ I say, drawing my sword.
‘What does it say?’ Raven asks, removing himself from my shoulder and turning from bird to “man.”
I hold up my sword and look at its swirling liquid surface. It glows a lustrous blue under the watermelon sky. I have learned that on my Sword of Waves I occasionally get a glimpse of what is out there. But, at present, there is nothing but ocean and the blackened, dental rocks that surround this formidable isle.
‘Nothing, I’m afraid,’ I say.
A scowl crosses Raven’s tattooed face. ‘So, maybe our good feeling is merely hope?’ he says.
‘If we don’t have hope, what do we have?’ I ask. He doesn’t answer, we simply begin our stride up the rocky shore, towards the green beyond. Plants always overcome. On our travels, we have found that the plant life always prevails.
We follow the trails left from the previous existence of life. Another thing I have learnt or remembered, coming back home, is that every inch of our world had life. “Had” being the unfortunate, operative word. I still think about my dearest friends, the merfolk, and wish that I could do something for their kind. And my crew of course, but at least they are still around. I am yet to sense the presence of a spectral mermaid.
My crew follows Raven and I through the forest of the island. A captain does not need to see her crew to know what they are doing. I can feel their moves, sense their actions, and I can feel mine scouting ahead for danger.
The island is small. We will not have to scout for long, but staying on land for the night is very likely, especially if we are lucky enough to find someone or something.
Following the trail leads us to a clearing. No trees or grass. It is a giant expanse of dry and cracked dirt. It is obvious that my water has not as yet reached this far for some reason. Enough for the plants to grow, yes, but not enough to turn this strange desolation into what it formerly was.
Around the ground is scattered yellowing, man-sized shells or cocoons of some kind. They are curved and hollowed out like creamy, scab canoes. I bend down to check one out. Upon moving it I notice a hole underneath. The earth has been moved and piled up around it, as if something had been dragged out from under ground.
‘Terrcia?’ asks Raven.
I remember the final battle I had with the self-proclaimed “Lady of the Land.”
‘I don’t think she is coming back anytime soon. Not to annoy us anyway,’ I say, cracking off a piece of the thick crust and smelling it. It smells of salt and rot and earth. ‘I do not know what these are.’
‘This is an island that we never ventured to, M’lady. The previous inhabitants are … unknown,’ says Raven.
I look at my sword, it can be difficult to read. I have to decipher the shapes upon it like a fortune teller’s tea leaves inside a porcelain cup. I see the dark patch of land in amongst the ocean and then a tiny spark of blue light where we stand. ‘There is something underground,’ I say.
I cast my sword over the ground and let the water flow out of me. I feel it trickling over my body, cascading onto the ground and soaking into the dry earth. It is an extension of my being. I can feel it filling every crook and crevice and then … ‘There!’ I say, pointing my sword to a blank patch of cracked dirt.
We race over just as the earth starts to crack and jolt. Raven places an arm across my front, pushing me back away from danger. I shove his arm away and step forward, holding my sword out ready to accept anything that creeps out. I remember the fairies and what the lack of water did to them. I shiver, thinking of their blood thirst. I do not wish to go through that again. I shake my head at my naivety.
The ground erupts. Muddy earth oozes from below, cracking the dirt further, and I watch, mildly disgusted, as a yellowish thing rises from its apparent grave.
The yellow cocoon cracks open and something crawls from it. A slimy, old lady. Yellowish-green gunk stretches between her fingers like webs on a swamp person. Yet I can see she is no swamp thing. She is much more human-esque, like myself and Raven. She gasps for air, mucus stretching and bubbling from between her lips. She drags her body out from underground. Flopping on the mud like a landed fish, gulping and gagging for air.
I can’t help but be repelled by the scene. I see that Raven is equally repulsed. Holding a hand over his mouth to resist heaving. I nudge him, evoking his composure.
I hold out a hand for the elderly woman to take and I help remove her from the gluggy hole.
‘Thank you, Child,’ she gasps, trying to wipe the snotty junk from her face.
‘What is your name?’ I ask.
‘Imelda … the … wise,’ she answers. She has not yet opened her eyes. She has stopped trying to wipe the mucus from her face.
‘Would you like a cloth?’ I say, handing her an only slightly soiled kerchief that I had found on the Silent Lady.
‘No. I am old enough now to realize that wiping the mire off is pointless. It is always best to … let it dry. Although, when you first come out of hibernation, it is hard to remember such things.’
She is right. It dries quite quickly. She soon begins to pick it off of her face and, to our inherent disgust, eat it. My mind tells me that, if she has been in hibernation then she must be really hungry. My rationality tells me that I could never be so hungry as to eat something so revolting.
Her eyes flicker open. Sideways eyelids blinking a few times and then she lets a gigantic tongue sliver out of her mouth and cruise over her eyeballs. I shiver uncontrollably at the sight of it. Her eyes are big and round and red, the center is a horizontal, black slit in the veiny crimson. Maybe not so Human-esque after all.
‘You … are not him,’ she says. An odd statement.
‘I am not who?’ I ask.
She is still breathing heavily. She begins to hack and cough, retching up the horrible “mire” from her … lungs … gills … I don’t know what she has.
‘He,’ she says.
I glance at Raven, who is looking mighty green. He shrugs.
‘Yes, who is he?’ I ask, impatiently.
The elderly frog-lady looks around. I follow her gaze. She looks around at the shells identical to hers that are scattered all over the clearing. She begins to make a low, careening cry. It reverberates in our ears and I have to force myself to resist covering them. She stops and waits. She makes the call again, but no reply.
‘He took them all,’ she says and begins to sob dry, throaty sobs.
‘Who is he?’ I ask, stepping forward and bending down to the sad old woman.
‘The Darkness,’ she answers.
If you like it, you can go check out the rest on the social media or just cut to the chase and go download it (for FREE) from Smashwords. Please, feed an author, leave a review and share it to all your peeps.